Write it out – no student should get up on stage without having their testimony prepared in advance. There’s nothing more powerful than a student story to compliment the message, but it can become awkward or even distracting when they don’t have a clear focus and a well-written script. Write it down and have them read it for the delivery. It evens the playing field so average students sound just like the ones that are more comfortable on stage.
Edit it down – Typically the testimony doesn’t come in at just the right size, and your size might fluctuate based on the needs of the service or the strength of the story. Either way, edit it down to perfectly fit the theme and message. Remove all last names, fact check, remove sentences that might appear to approve of unbecoming behavior, and make sure extra details used to color the story that may distract are edited out.
Talk to Parents – Before a student hits the stage, make sure their parents (if applicable) are in the loop. There’s nothing worse than a parent being blindsided – make sure there are no surprises. Whatever the story is about needs to be filtered by the family and make sure they are prepared for consequences and/or repercussions from the testimony.
Thank the student – It is a big deal to share the story! A hand-written card is a big deal, perhaps a small gift or a follow-up coffee is in order. Thank them for participating in a service whose goal is life change, and be sure to share the results of the weekend.
Josh has a great post on using testimony from young people. This is something we have been dealing with more recently as our church had a baptismal service a few weeks ago, and the two young people shared their journey of faith with the church. Here are his key points: